Family and developmental history of ADHD patients: a structured clinical routine interview identifies a significant profile

  • Johanna Waltereit
  • Franziska Haas
  • Stefan Ehrlich
  • Veit Roessner
  • Robert WaltereitEmail author
Original Paper


Similar to other neurodevelopmental disorders, the diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is based on clinical and psychosocial assessment. This assessment is performed in clinical practice using the clinical routine interview technique. Domains of the clinical routine interview are, among others, present symptoms, history of present illness and family and developmental history. Family and developmental history are important parts in the diagnostic process of ADHD. In contrast to the domains of present symptoms and history of present illness, there are currently no structured interviews or rating scales available to thoroughly assess family and developmental history in ADHD. The aim of the study was to assess the profile of operationalized data from a structured clinical routine interview addressing family and developmental history from ADHD patients and control participants. A structured interview to assess family and developmental history was derived from the guidelines used at different university hospitals for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as well as from the descriptions in leading textbooks. Based on these guidelines and descriptions, the interview was an optimization of possible questions. Clinical data were obtained from parents of male patients who had the diagnosis of ADHD between the ages of 12–17 years (n = 44), and of healthy controls (n = 41). Non-metric data were operationalized into three categories, 0—normal behavior, 1—minor pathological behavior, 2—major pathological behavior. ADHD patients express a profile that significantly differs from control participants. Comparison of significant items with the empirical ADHD literature indicates strong agreement. Our findings support the importance and feasibility of the clinical routine interview in family and developmental history in the context of diagnosing ADHD.


ADHD Clinical examination Family history Developmental history Content validity 



Contributions of authors: JW collected data, interpreted results and wrote the paper. FH collected data. SE wrote the paper. VR designed the study and wrote the paper. RW designed the study, supervised collection of data, interpreted results and wrote the paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

406_2019_1047_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (20 kb)
Supplementary Table 1: Structured clinical routine interview of family and developmental history (XLSX 20 kb)
406_2019_1047_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (20 kb)
Supplementary Table 2: Details of statistical analyses (XLSX 20 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Klinik und Poliklinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und –psychotherapieTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany

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